I spent a month in Cuenca, Ecuador, to refersh my Spanish language skills, to acclimatize at 2'500m for the subsquent Himalayan high-altitude expedition and to get some rest after 10 years of hard work
Overview over Cuenca as seen from the Turi outlook. The tree lined river banks can be clearly seen. The full name of Cuenca es "Santa Ana de los cuatro ríos de Cuenca"
The main cathedral of Cuenca, one of the largest in South America
Parque Calderon. Like every good Spanish city also Cuenca has its central plaza
Typical street in UNESCO world cultural heritage Cuenca
My favourite hang-out in Cuenca. The Starbucks alike Coffeetree
The Escalinatas, where the school has its normal location (we were located in a provisional building during renovations)
Teachers at the language school. Muchas gracias por todo!
Typical, well groomed river banks
My running track
Parque de la Madre with a monument of Jefferson Perez, a local and national heroe (olympic champion in Marching)
View of my host family's house right in the Parque de La Madre and right on the running track
On the other side of the house was the stadium of Deportivo Cuenca with pictures of sports heroes with their motos
Excursion to the highlands north of Cuenca at some 3,800m
Rich flora despite the high altitude
Hike on the still clearly visible Camino del Inca
The ruins of Ingapirca, not as impressive as in Peru but the Incas were in Ecuador only some 30 years
Inca-typical stone-work
Excursion to the waterfalls of Girón
The waterfall pools are swimable as long as you don't read the signs and don't mind the freezing cold water
Excursion to Cajas National Park, here the lower part located cold rain forste at some 2,700m
The upper part of Cajas NP at 4,100m
Polilepis trees
Cajas is splendid in good weather, muddy in bad weather
Drive through typical country side towards Huigra for a long weekend
Our room in the resort "Hosteria de la eterna primavera" in Huigra
Views across the resort and the valley to the local Virgin at the opposite side of the valley
Views of the resort
Huigra the former capital of the Ecuadorian train system which became a de facto ghost town after the trains stopped but which is now busy with reviving itself ahead of the re-installation of the trains
A first short excursion to a local waterfall together with the Ecuadorian tourists from Quito and Guayaquil
A second excursion to a spectucalr section of the rail track where the train still runs across the "Nariz del Diablo"
Inside the nicely renovated train
The turning station
They also use train-trucks
Barbeque with subsequent dance at the resort
Third excursion to the Chimborazo with 6,310m Ecuador's highest mountain and due to the equatorian location the peak with the longest distance from the center of the earth
On the way to Chimborazo passing Alausi (the train starting point) again and overlook the famous Sunday market
Stop at the oldest church in Ecuador established in 1534 in La Balbanera (picture with our SUV including driver inside)
First views of the Chimborazo
Path from the frist refuge at 4,800m to the second refuge at 5,000m
Mitdad del Mundo near Quito. This is the real Equator line, as demonstrated by various experiments
The monument for the Equator, with a location as calculated in the pre-GPS time, some 176 meter away from the "real thing"
View overlooking Quito fromt he top station of the "TeleferiQo"
The UNESCO old town of Quito
More views of the old town
The patio of the presidential palace
Representative rooms in the presidential palace
The guide explaining the hall with the pictures of all former Ecuadorian presidents
Guards outside the presindtial palace and yes, there is a changing of the guard show
More churches, many on this Saturday actually busy with weddings
For a change a church from inside (very richly ornamented)
More churches...
... and old townhouses
Also in Quito there are nice cafés
Heading back to Switzerland with the Cotopaxi in the background wishing a nice trip.
Gracias Ecuador por la gan experencia!